The rise of once ‘The Golden Academy’ of European football has been catching attention of lot of mesmerized football fanatics, both the old and the new, simply due to the fact that the football they play is defined as pure.
AFC Ajax, the name itself is enough to take one back to the glory days of dutch football.
This new Ajax under Erik Ten Hag has been being more than just impressive. Their Eur-opean Journey towards glory is what makes fans like us more intrigued and excited. Here are some of the observations as to what makes Ajax a delightful football club:
• THE PHILOSOPHY •
The Philosophy of the Great Johan Cruyff is clearly visible now that the current squad plays without any fear or hesitation. They simply don’t fear any opposition and they continue to play their own way of beautiful football. Don’t believe me? Watch their group stage matches vs Bayern or rather their heroics vs champions Real Madrid, absolutely annihilating them in front of their own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“We must make sure their worst players get the ball the most. You’ll get it back in no time.”
“Playing Football is very simple, But Playing Simple Football is the hardest thing there is.”
Simple and pure football, yet perfect. Somewhere in the heavens, Johan must be smiling.
• RISE OF ‘DE TWINS’ •
Frenkie De Jong & Matthijs De Ligt. One would fall short of adjectives to describe how influential and significant these two young lads are. Not only to Ajax but to the Dutch national team.
*Hot and proven commodities*
Frenkie De Jong, one of a kind midfielder, once targeted by every giant in Europe is now Barcelona’s next big thing in the ever important midfield after the end of the season. His countrymen and dear compadre Matthijs De Ligt, a wanted man for every defense of European giants. Golden Boy of 2018, this young lad is the best in his position and a reliable partner in Virgil Van Djik makes his national team time quite enjoyable.
De Twins have at many instances expressed their wish to play for Barcelona and the Catalan club seems to appreciate it. Already signing De Jong, the Blaugranas are ready to battle every major club in Europe, the likes of Juventus, Bayern, City for De Ligt.
De Jong and De Ligt is what every manager wants as his midfielder and defender, and rightly so. Their significance to Ajax is priceless.
However Marc Overmars and Edwin Van Der Sar know that the lads deserve the best platform there is and are willing to let them fulfill their dreams. The rich heritage of Dutch Footballers who joined FC Barcelona from Ajax is certainly a key factor for these two who have set their sight on Blaugrana colours. Only time will tell what the world is about to witness from De Twins.
• VERSATILITY •
Every player in that Ajax squad is versatile to the delight of Ten Hag. The De Twins can play as CB and CDM with ease. The likes of Ziyech, Tadic and Neres playing both in attack and in midfield. The Veterans, Daley Blind and Lass Schone add that extra solidarity to the squad. Nico Tagliafico and Mazraoui more like wing-backs rather than fullbacks. The bench consisting the right mixture in Dolberg, Huntelaar, Veltman and more. Onana, solid in the goal and complements the defense well. The squad is balanced and very energetic as well as hungry for getting the job done and dusted.
• ‘UNDERDOGS’ TAG •
Call them underdogs, you’ll probably end up regretting it. Yeah on paper this side looks fairly underdog-esque. But they are far from being one. Keeping Bayern at bay in the group stages. Just missing out on the top spot. Taking them for granted will be big mistake.
Sergio Ramos knows better! *winks*
The deliberate booking for the overconfident Real Madrid captain will haunt him for a while. And add the demolition by Ajax in front of his own fans. The performance considered as one of the best the world will ever witness. Outclassed, conquered; Real had no answers. The brilliance of Dusan Tadic, the heroics of Onana and the magical duo of Schone and De Jong.
Everything Ajax touched was gold.
They face a mighty Juventus, who are hungry for UCL, but can they keep the consistent level we witnessed so far? Time will tell.
• WHAT’S NEXT •
This batch of players might be becoming a top sought after bunch in the upcoming windows. Would it be the end of their short lived legacy? No. The club knows far better that the contribution is far more significant for developing talent and sending them at rightful places rather than just halting their progress. It allows them to look for more talent and produce another batch until the club is significant and financially capable of keeping its stars away from the so called giants.